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The Low Cost Secret to Cleaning Your Concrete Garage Floor

Updated on August 21, 2013

Tired of your oil stained and dirty garage floor?

How many times have you walked out into your garage and became disgusted with your dirty and oil stained floor? Many of us do that every day but resist doing much about it for various reasons. It could be that the last time it was done it didn't turn out well or maybe those oils stains weren't removed like you wanted. Well, it doesn't have to be that hard or expensive to clean your garage floor. All it requires is a little knowledge about what cleaning agents to use, some elbow grease, and a few handy tools to help you along the way.

Supplies list

  • High pressure nozzle for your hose
  • Long handled scrub brush
  • Cleaning bucket
  • Tide laundry detergent or TSP
  • Concrete degreaser
  • Kitty litter

Tools that you will need

The first thing you need in order to be successful is to have the proper tools. The first is a garden hose with a good high pressure nozzle. Ideally the best nozzles are the small inexpensive brass ones that look like a miniature version of the end of a fire hose. These do a great job of producing a high intensity stream of water. Just be aware that these simple nozzles usually don't have a shut off lever. You may want to purchase an inexpensive plastic shut off valve that you can attach between your hose and nozzle so that you aren't going back and forth turning your water off at the spigot.

Next, you need a real stiff bristled scrub brush with a long handle like a push broom. As tempting as it may be, do not use your push broom for a scrub brush. It is too big and the bristles are too soft because of the length. The best scrub brushes have real short bristles and are less than half the size of a push broom. These brushes enable you to produce a lot of pressure and scrubbing action with the smaller size. Lastly, you need a good bucket to mix your solution in.

Inexpensive supplies from Amazon

Nelson Brass Sweeper Nozzle 50161
Nelson Brass Sweeper Nozzle 50161

This is a great high pressure nozzle for a standard garden hose.

 
TORMAX Long Handled Deck Scrub Brush
TORMAX Long Handled Deck Scrub Brush

Short bristled brushes like this are the best for scrubbing concrete

 

Remove those pesky oil stains first

Now, before we begin cleaning the entire garage floor, the first thing we need to address is the oil spots and stains. Oil stains are the number one complaint that people have about cleaning their garage floor. Concrete is very porous and absorbs liquids like a sponge. Oil, transmission fluid, and other greasy products that are not immediately cleaned up from the concrete soak in and spread. So the trick to cleaning up most stubborn oil stains is to loosen the oil up with a good degreaser and then soak up the oil with a natural poultice.

We need two items to start. The first is a good concrete degreaser which you can purchase from either your local big box hardware center or auto parts store. The second is inexpensive kitty litter if you don't have some already. A day or two before you clean your floor we want to treat the oil stains.

Start by removing any excess oil that is on the surface first. Next, wet the surface of the area to be treated, then pour some of the degreaser directly on the spot. Do not dilute it first. Scrub vigorously with your brush then rinse. This gets most of the oil directly from the surface but not below it. Now, treat the spot again in the same manner only do not rinse. Let it stand for a few minutes to soak in, then apply a liberal amount of kitty litter on top of the stain. Grind it into the concrete real good with the soles of your shoes and then apply a little bit more. Since kitty litter is a natural poultice, this will help to draw the oil out that the degreaser has emulsified. You need to let it sit for about 24 hours for the kitty litter to work properly. If the kitty litter looks all wet before the time is up, just apply more in order for it to absorb everything. Once the required time is up, sweep the area clean and see how well your stain has been removed.

Great degreasers from Amazon

The Oil Eater degreaser combined with kitty litter is an excellent combo at cleaning up oil stains. For real stubborn spots, I like to use Pour-N-Restore. It's uses microbes to eat the oil and then it turns to powder. Just sweep it up afterwards. Simple Green is great for easy cleaning maintenance of your concrete.

Now let's clean the rest of the floor

Once the oil spots are treated we are ready to tackle the rest of the floor. One of the two best cleaners for your garage floor that are inexpensive is Tide laundry detergent or trisodium phosphate (TSP). You can find TSP at you local home improvement center or hardware store. Rinse the floor first with your high pressure nozzle. Then mix a strong batch of either the TSP or Tide laundry detergent into your bucket. Pour your mix onto the floor and start scrubbing. Don't try to spread it thin. Just mix a new batch when you need more and make sure you floor doesn't dry before rinsing. The cleaning mix does a great job of removing the dirt, debris, and other contaminants from the concrete by emulsifying it with the water. Once you are done, take your time and rinse the concrete real well. The high pressure nozzle helps to lift all the contaminants out of the pores of the concrete and leave you with a nice clean floor.

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Enjoy your clean garage floor!

Once your floor has dried it should look 100% better than what it had before. Just remember that any oil soaked concrete that was cleaned properly will still have a slight shadowing or discoloring where the stain once was, but it shouldn't be anything distracting. If you like at this point, you may want to consider adding a nice coating of paint or epoxy to give your garage floor a stylish and custom look!

Comments on cleaning your garage floor are welcome!

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    • profile image

      othellos 3 years ago

      Very useful lens. My garage needs that cleaning described in your lens the soonest possible. Thank you for sharing all the informative details here.

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      My garage floor need cleaning and I plan to do so soon. I need to do it early in the morning since it so hot in my garage.

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 4 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      I hope my hubby will have time to do a good garage cleaning this Spring! We have so many stains and it could a good scrubbing :)

    • Elaine Chen profile image

      Elaine Chen 4 years ago

      I have no garage at home; but will share your useful tips to my friends

    • profile image

      FashionMommy 4 years ago

      Great tips and nice lens. Thank you for sharing :)

    • profile image

      crstnblue 4 years ago

      Interesting lens with useful tips!

      Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      kellywilson1 4 years ago

      Thank you for these garage floor cleaning tips.

    • IamShea profile image
      Author

      IamShea 4 years ago

      @Jogalog: Haha.... I've already done my fair share and more. Good luck though!

    • profile image

      Toy-Tester 4 years ago

      Nothing better than kitty litter to soak up oil... :)

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      I hate this job! Please come and do my garage floor for me.

    • IamShea profile image
      Author

      IamShea 4 years ago

      @takkhisa: You are welcome!

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Thanks for your great tips :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My husband is out in the garage seeing if we have everything we need right now. Our garage is filthy and this is just what we needed to get motivated. Good info.

    • profile image

      anitabreeze 4 years ago

      great info here!

    • IamShea profile image
      Author

      IamShea 4 years ago

      @BarbaraCasey: I'm glad you liked it, thank you! I hate vague instructions myself so I always try to make things easy to understand.

    • Carashops profile image

      Cara 4 years ago

      I must get my husband to read your lens as I recently spilt a pot of paint on our garage floor.

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 4 years ago

      This is a great DIY lens. And your instructions are very clear.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I just wanted to say that I followed your instructions and now my garage looks sooooo much better. Turns out I had most of what I needed and didn't even know it. Thanks!

    • IamShea profile image
      Author

      IamShea 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I'm happy it inspired you to tackle your stains.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This is so great. I've really been looking for a way to remove these terrible stains on my garage floor! This looks easy. I can't wait to try it.